Archives – September, 2013
From: Lund University
A Lund University research team has made an astounding discovery – bees have a battery of healthy bacteria in their honey stomach that protects them. Giving these lactic acid bacteria back to bees boosts their natural immune system, helping them fight off disease.
WATCH VIDEO STORY HERE
CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder, is a mysterious mass death of honey bees that has wiped out 10 million beehives worldwide in the past six years. Around two-thirds of the global food supply depends on bee-pollinated crops. It is believed a combination of pesticides, parasites, poor nutrition, and the stress of large-scale pollination is weakening bees’ immune systems, making them susceptible to disease.
September 30, 2013
From: Sydney Morning Herald
The first queen bees to arrive in Australia for seven years are expected to bring significant benefits and risks to the bee industry.
Ten queens are awaiting clearance from Canada, which has varroa mite, pictured below, a blood-sucking parasite in all major honey-harvesting countries except Australia, and which is rated as one of the nation’s greatest biosecurity threats.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said introducing new bee genetics will improve production of hives and build resistance against pests and diseases.
September 27, 2013
Science and politics don’t mix well. In the United States, we’re witnessing rancorous policy debates over shale gas extraction (i.e. fracking) and GMOs in our foods. But in Europe, the hottest issue is the health of honeybees. And the ugly public discussion is lapping onto our shores.
Bees pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops, which constitute about one third of everything we eat. On December 1, a European wide ban takes effect on the use of three chemicals collectively known as neonicotinoids, which guard against insect infestation. The two-year restriction was voted into law last April after a split vote by the European Commission in response to public fears that ‘neonics’ were the source of a rash of bee deaths reported in some countries.
September 25, 2013
From: Manitoba Co-operator
by Terry Daynard
The Ontario Bee Association and the Sierra Club of Canada is seeking a ban on treating seeds with neonicotinoid insecticides.
But science and statistics do not support their position.
Consider the following:
Statistics Canada data show that the number of honey bee colonies was up, not down, in both Ontario and Canada in 2012. While some beekeepers have experienced excessive losses in recent years, most have not, including many with hives immediately adjacent to fields where neonicotinoid-treated corn has been planted. On the Prairies, home to 80 per cent of honey production and usage of neonicotinoids (also used to treat canola) is much higher than in Ontario, there has been no linkage between neonics and bee deaths.
September 23, 2013
This week: a potential conflict of interests in Britain, mites decimate bees, and a peek at the new film More Than Honey
Alison Benjamin, Amanda Holpuch and Ruth Spencer
Stories about the declining bee population and its effects on the environment trickle through the news cycle nearly every day. To keep track of the latest bee news and make sense of the issues, we’re highlighting the major bee stories each week, with analysis from the Guardian’s Alison Benjamin, co-author of A World Without Bees, Bees in the City: The Urban Beekeepers’ Handbook and Keeping Bees and Making Honey.
September 20, 2013
From: ABC Rural (Australia)
By Sarina Locke
Australia’s leading bee researcher says he’s forced to rely on raising his own funds from fashion magazines and community fetes to keep researching the varroa destructor mite.
It’s estimated a varroa incursion could cost Australian honey and pollination industry over $70 million a year (RIRDC report), by killing all the feral bees and up to 40 per cent of hives.
Dr Denis Anderson says he needs $10 million to make a breakthrough in finding the chemical trigger that feral bees could use to protect themselves from the mite.
September 19, 2013
From: The Sydney Morning Herald
The Australian scientist who helped discover what was killing the world’s honey bees believes he may be on the cusp of working out how to stop it – if he can just convince anyone to listen.
Denis Anderson was awarded the 2007 CSIRO medal for his work spreading awareness of the varroa destructor mite, a parasite that sucks the blood of European honey bees and has caused widespread carnage to populations across the world.
The mite has spread to all major honey harvesting countries except Australia and is rated as one of the nation’s greatest biosecurity threats.
September 16, 2013
From: Daily Caller
You only occasionally actually see them in a hive — the pinhead-sized crablike Varroa destructor mites that have in the past seventy years become the nemesis of beekeepers in every continent save Australia. Varroa is indisputably the number one problem affecting bee health today.
The main problem is called the “varroa-virus complex.” Honey bees are host to about 20 viruses, most of which were formerly considered relatively benign. Varroa changed all that — not only does the mite vector viruses from one bee to another (similar to how mosquitoes vector malaria), but it also injects an immune suppressor into the bee, which then activates “latent” viruses into bee-killing machines (similar as to how HIV induces infections to explode in AIDS patients).
September 11, 2013
From: Times Colonist
Contrary to what you might have heard, there is no “bee-pocalypse.” There is lots of alarmist talk about colony-collapse disorder. People are blaming pesticides and talking about hundreds of billions of dollars at risk. But a closer look tells a different story.
Yes, honeybees are dying in above-average numbers, but the most likely cause is the varroa mite and associated viruses.
Moreover, if you look at the actual numbers, they undermine much of the catastrophic rhetoric. In the U.S., where we have good data, beekeepers have adapted to CCD. Colony numbers were higher in 2010 than any year since 1999. The beekeepers are not passive victims.
September 9, 2013
The CRE website was attacked with the result that had we not pulled down the website we would have risked loosing content.
We appreciate your many emails and we are working to continue to install state of the art early warning systems. We must , however, add that we have only had two major outages in more than a decade of operation.
We are particularly concerned that some of you could not use the website for the preparation of regulatory filings.
September 6, 2013